Wonder Woman is breaking all sorts of glass ceilings. The long-gestating project is now a success for Warner Bros., the DC superhero franchise, and female superhero characters.
Wonder Woman started development in 1996. Oscar-winning Monster director Patty Jenkins was signed on to direct in 2015, and filming began in November that year.
Wonder Woman Breaks Records
More than a decade later, the major female-led superhero film has now landed the top domestic debut for a female director, opening to a historic $100.5 million, as per Box Office Mojo's numbers. Overseas, the film has reaped $122.5 million, totaling to a global opening of $223 million.
Wonder Woman's records make it the biggest opening for a female director ever, a crucial development by Hollywood's standards. The U.S. film industry's male-to-female directing ratio has so far heavily favored men, but Patty Jenkins's success helming Wonder Woman could turn tides — the film's success could put pressure on Hollywood bigwigs to give more directing jobs to women, especially big franchises the likes of superhero films.
Wonder Woman, starring Israeli actress Gal Gadot, launches the first major film franchise starring a female superhero after both Catwoman and Elektra failed to win moviegoers and critics alike. By contrast, Wonder Woman sits at a 94 percent rating via Rotten Tomatoes, with critics praising the way it subverts typical elements of the superhero genre.
In our review, we called Wonder Woman a unique superhero film.
"[Wonder Woman is a film that] creates its own unique stamp on a historical superhero movie, largely due to the unique perspective and innocence offered by Princess Diana of Themyscira and the brilliant take on the role by Gal Gadot."
Wonder Woman's audiences skewed 52 percent female, according to reports, which is almost unheard of for a major superhero film, usually drawing audiences that are 60 percent male.
"[Jenkins's] vision mesmerized the audience. She is a real talent. Clearly, this is a movie that is resonating with moviegoers around the globe," said Jeff Goldstein, president of domestic distribution at Warner Bros, who seemed to confirm future Wonder Woman franchise entries going forward. "I am sure we will be seeing a lot more of Diana on the big screen."
Why The Success Of 'Wonder Woman' Is A Big Deal
Wonder Woman has become part of the rare category of superhero films that had managed to cross $100 million in its launch numbers. At present, atop that list is The Avengers with $207.4 million. Notably, Wonder Woman surpassed the opening records of the first two Thor and Captain America films, in addition to the first Iron Man film.
Wonder Woman's opening weekend stands as an achievement for all female filmmakers and the industry as well, said Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst at comScore.
"Any ridiculous notion that a woman may not be suited to direct a big budget superhero movie is hopefully once and for all shattered," Dergarabedian said.
Garnering an "A" CinemaScore, Wonder Woman is a much-needed upswing for the DC superhero brand, two of which — Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice — had reaped negative reviews.
Wonder Woman also stands as a tentpole film for female-centric superhero movies going forward, be it from Marvel or DC. Marvel Comics character Black Widow, for instance, has been involved in talks of an upcoming solo movie, but details about the notional film have so far been vague.
It's of course unfair for the future of the whole industry, let alone the whole concept of feminism in film, to depend on Wonder Woman. But one can't simply deny how important a step it is in such endeavors, especially now that it's proving to be a critical and commercial success.
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